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Our Flexible Learning Environments

Our Vision for FLE: 

Our flexible learning environments (FLE) enable us to create a community for learning where collaboration is used to facilitate constant improvement and to unlock our student's full potential.

We want our students to:
  • be excited by their learning, 
  • be empowered learners, with their talents developed, 
  • and motivated to become lifelong learners.

Our Aims:
For our Students
  • Personalised and empowered learning for students 
  • Student learning time is maximised
  • Students will become self directed and develop self management skills
  • Students and teachers work with, and beside each other, and collaborate with a wider range of peers
  • Students and teachers begin to coach, teach and learn from each other 
  • Students and teachers can articulate their own learning, be able to identify next steps, and action these steps
  • Be reflective and inquiring learners 
  • Students will develop lifelong skills that are relevant, authentic and global 
  • We will develop students and teachers who are empowered, engaged, enhanced and awakened learners 
For our Teachers
  • Teachers can use time creatively and flexibly, to provide students with more choice within their working space and best meet their learning needs.
  • Teachers will engage students in a variety of ways, in different contexts, with different resources and spaces 
  • We will develop truly inquiring teachers, building teachers that are lifelong learners and experts in effective teaching and learning.

What FLEs look like at WS:

At Whakarongo School we have a commitment to effective pedagogy.  We believe that Flexible Learning Environments support a range of effective teaching pedagogies and provide the environment for the natural development of lifelong skills such as self-management, student efficacy, collaboration, responsibility and communication, as well as core skills of literacy and mathematics.  

Our FLE's, alongside our Whakarongo Kid effective learner progressions, help our learners understand their learning and their next steps to help them be the best learner they can be.  

Our FLEs are referred to as pods, which consist of three homerooms.   These learning environments offer students and teachers flexibility, choice and access as well as for students to have a voice and sense of direction in their learning. 

Our pods are named for our different school values in Te Reo, promoting a respect for Te Ao Maori as well as values essential for the future.

These pods also support the Maori concepts of:
  • Ako: a dynamic form of learning where the educator and the student learn from each other in an interactive way
  • Pono: where students and teachers have a strong sense of self belief, with a clear purpose
  • Atawhai: a whanau approach where everybody is part of the “family” and feel safe
  • Tipu: where learners have pathways to discover and develop their own strengths. 
Inherent in this, in our pods, is collaborative teacher practice.  In our pods, our teachers work collaboratively to ensure they best meet the needs of the learners:
  • Our teachers identify and use each other’s strengths.
  • Teachers are constantly communicating; providing feedback and feedforward to each other about directions for learning, next steps, student progress and behaviour. This promotes an environment that is more responsive to and reflective of students’ needs.
  • Teachers as the learning coach: this role, especially in literacy and mathematics, enables more targeted support, the opportunity to challenge and extend learners as they work independently.  The learning coach also provides immediate feedback and next steps for both students and fellow pod teachers while also tracking our students' learning progress. Students always have the learning coach to go to at any time during the day, which is significantly different to what teachers can provide in a single classroom.  The learning coach also helps keep students on track and ensures that no student goes un-noticed.
  • Assessment is collaborative and reflects the observations of all teachers in the pod, giving a fuller picture of what our students can do and their next steps.
  • Teachers collaboratively plan for a wide range of learning experiences, drawing on strengths and knowledge as well as teacher observations in a responsive manner, meaning they are able to reflect on learning daily, and plan for next steps as they are identified.
This means our teachers use time creatively and flexibly: targeting individuals, small groups and larger groups with greater flexibility; providing for a greater variety of learning needs and focuses, in a variety of ways, contexts and with different resources and spaces, and this all supports greater student engagement, understanding and direction in learning. 

This is critical in promoting personalised learning and greater learner agency for our students, which we feel is essential to ensuring our learners’ are prepared for the future. We want our students to:
  • understand how they learn
  • own and drive their learning
  • are co-designers of the curriculum and their learning environment

To support this, our pods:
  • Have clear pathways for learning so they can identify where they are at and work towards their next steps more autonomously. 
  • Targeted workshops, where teachers and students lead learning that reflects the student's next steps for learning.  As students move through the school they identify their steps and opt into the workshop that best meets their learning.
  • Actively seek our student's voice.  We recognise that if we want learning to be engaging and motivating for our learners, and if we want them to take responsibility for their learning, then our students need to have input into what they think is important, what they're interested in, what works or doesn't work for them. 
  • Provide a range of choices, reflecting different learning styles and interests as well as learning focuses.  
  • Are developing the concept of ako where teachers and students sit alongside each other - learning together; students work collaboratively,  and learning from each other.

These aspects help our students be more reflective and inquiring learners; and ultimately our students are show more motivation, engagement and self-management of their learning.